5 Most Common Driving Mistakes

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Terrified teenage girl driving and breaking to avoid an accident isolated on white background

When it comes to playing golf, perfecting the art of driving is crucial to a successful game. Here are some mistakes to avoid, however, when practicing your craft.

  1. Using the wrong equipment. Many players believe that a driver should feature no more than nine degrees of loft. In reality, you would be better off with a driver that has 11 or 12 degrees of loft. More lofts mean more backspin, more backspin means less sidespin, and less slice and hook. Another bonus of additional loft is that it makes it easier to create optimal launch conditions. Don’t assume you will need a stiffer shaft; if you aren’t sure which flex is right for you, choose a softer flex.
  2. Leveling your shoulders. A successful golf swing is comprised of an inside-out path on the downswing. This path cannot be created, but rather happens as a response to how you move your shoulders in the downswing. If shoulders remain level during the downswing, your club won’t trace an inside-out path. Your left shoulder must rock up as the right shoulder turns underneath your chin while approaching impact. The rock up must be paired with rotation. A good swing is comprised of the right shoulder moving underneath the chin and through to the finish.
  3. Using too much body. Your lower body should pivot during the swing in order to hit the ball in a powerful manner; however, this isn’t what generates power and speed in the swing. The hands are the fastest part of the body, so it’s crucial to use them to your advantage. While swinging, attempt to propel the club with hand movement and allow the rest of your body to turn with them. Try hitting balls with your feet together as you practice; you may find that your drives will travel just as far as they do when swinging from a wide stance with hip action. You’ll also find it is easier to swing the club on-plane.
  4. Lacking control. Despite what you’ll see on TV, there’s no need for a massive shoulder turn and a parallel shaft at the top in order to play golf. What you’ll need to do is maneuver your body so that you’re in control of the clubhead. In order to achieve this, you will need to unify your backswing. With your hands at the lead, you’ll need to rotate your shoulders, arms and chest to a comfortable stop. If you’re flexible enough, this should occur when the left shoulder sits above the right thigh. Unwind the rotation leading with the hands; turn your left shoulder under your chin on the backswing, and the right shoulder under the chin on the downswing.
  5. Poor alignment. When the driver has a long shaft, the player is forced to stand further away from the ball, making alignment difficult to achieve. For proper alignment, place guide clubs on the ground when you hit balls on the range. This will help you see how your feet should be positioned relative to the target. Have a fellow friend or player check your hip and shoulder lines from behind. Even if your feet are aligned, your shoulders and hips will be open and can set the stage for a slice path.